Robert Green Ingersoll
33 page printout. Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. INTERVIEWS Contents of this file page JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. 1 POLITICS AND THEOLOGY. 6 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. 7 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. 16 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. 20 THE OATH QUESTION. 26 WENDELL PHILLIPS, FITZ JOHN PORTER AND BISMARCK. 31 **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. QUESTION: What do you think of Justice Harlan's dissenting opinion in the Civil Rights case? ANSWER: I have just read it and think it admirable in every respect. It is unanswerable. He has given to words their natural meaning. He has recognized the intention of the framers of the recent amendments. There is nothing in this opinion that is strained, insincere, or artificial. It is frank and manly. It is solid masonry, without crack or flaw. He does not resort to legal paint or putty, or to verbal varnish or veneer. He states the position of his brethren of the bench with perfect fairness, and overturns it with perfect ease. He has drawn an instructive parallel between the decisions of the olden time, upholding the power of Congress to deal with individuals in the interests of slavery, and the power conferred on Congress by the recent amendments. He has shown by the old decisions, that when a duty is enjoined upon Congress, ability to perform it is given; that when a certain end is required, all necessary means are granted. He also shows that the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and of 1850, rested entirely upon the implied power of Congress to enforce a master's rights; and that power was once implied in favor of slavery against human rights, and implied from language shadowy, feeble and uncertain when compared with the language of the recent amendments. He has shown, too, that Congress exercised the utmost ingenuity in devising laws to enforce the master's claim. Implication was held ample to deprive a human being of his liberty, but to secure freedom, the doctrine of implication is abandoned. As a foundation for wrong, implication was their rock. As a foundation for right, it is now sand. Implied power then was sufficient to enslave, while power expressly given is now impotent to protect. QUESTION: What do you think of the use he has made of the Dred Scott decision? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. ANSWER: Well I think he has shown conclusively that the present decision, under the present circumstances, is far worse than the Dred Scott decision was under the then circumstances. The Dred Scott decision was a libel upon the best men of the Revolutionary period. That decision asserted broadly that our forefathers regarded the negroes as having no rights which white men were bound to respect; that the negroes were merely merchandise, and that that opinion was fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race, and that no one thought of disputing it. Yet Franklin contended that slavery might be abolished under the preamble of the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson said that if the slave should rise to cut the throat of his master, God had no attribute that would side against the slave. Thomas Paine attacked the institution with all the intensity and passion of his nature. John Adams regarded the institution with horror. So did every civilized man, South and North. Justice Harlan shows conclusively that the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted in the light of the Dred Scott decision; that it overturned and destroyed, not simply the decision, but the reasoning upon which it was based; that it proceeded upon the ground that the colored people had rights that white men were bound to respect, not only, but that the Nation was bound to protect. He takes the ground that the amendment was suggested by the condition of that race, which had been declared by the Supreme Court of the United States to have no rights which white men were bound to respect; that it was made to protect people whose rights had been invaded, and whose strong arms had assisted in the overthrow of the Rebellion; that it was made for the purpose of putting these men upon a legal equality with white citizens. Justice Harlan also shows that while legislation of Congress to enforce a master's right was upheld by implication, the rights of the negro do not depend upon that doctrine; that the Thirteenth Amendment does not rest upon implication, or upon inference; that by its terms it places the power in Congress beyond the possibility of a doubt -- conferring the power to enforce the amendment by appropriate legislation in express terms; and he also shows that the Supreme Court has admitted that legislation for that purpose may be direct and primary. Had not the power been given in express terms, Justice Harlan contends that the sweeping declaration that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist would by implication confer the power. He also shows conclusively that, under the Thirteenth Amendment, Congress has the right by appropriate legislation to protect the colored people against the deprivation of any right on account of their race, and that Congress is not necessarily restricted, under the Thirteenth Amendment, to legislation against slavery as an institution, but that power may be exerted to the extent of protecting the race from discrimination in respect to such rights us belong to freemen, where such discrimination is based on race or color. If Justice Harlan is wrong the amendments are left without force and Congress without power. No purpose can be assigned for their adoption. No object can be guessed that was to be accomplished. They become words, so arranged that they sound like sense, but when examined fall meaninglessly apart. Under the decision of the Supreme Court they are Quaker cannon -- cloud forts -- "property" for political Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. stage scenery -- coats of mail made of bronzed paper -- shields of gilded pasteboard -- swords of lath. QUESTION: Do you wish to say anything as to the reasoning of Justice Harlan on the rights of colored people on railways, in inns and theaters? ANSWER: Yes, I do. That part of the opinion is especially strong. He shows conclusively that a common carrier is in the exercise of a sort of public-office and has public duties to perform, and that he cannot exonerate himself from the performance of these duties without the consent of the parties concerned. He also shows that railroads are public highways, and that the railway company is the agent of the State, and that a railway, although built by private capital, is just as public in its nature as though constructed by the State itself. He shows that the railway is devoted to Public use, and subject to be controlled by the State for the public benefit, and that for these reasons the colored man has the same rights upon the railway that he has upon the public highway. Justice Harlan shows that the same law is applicable to inns that is applicable to railways: that an inn-keeper is bound to take all travelers if he can accommodate them; that he is not to select his guests; that he has no right to say to one "you may come in," and to another "you shall not;" that every one who conducts himself in a proper manner has a right to be received. He shows conclusively that an inn-keeper is a sort of public servant; that he is in the exercise of a quasi public employment, that he is given special privileges, and charged with duties of a public character. As to theaters, I think his argument most happy. It is this: Theaters are licensed by law. The authority to maintain them comes from the public. The colored race being a part of the public, representing the power granting the license, why should the colored people license a manager to open his doors to the white man and shut them in the face of the black man? Why should they be compelled to license that which they are not permitted to enjoy?justice Harlan shows that Congress has the power to prevent discrimination on account of race or color on railways, at inns, and in places of public amusements, and has this power under the Thirteenth Amendment. In discussing the Fourteenth Amendment, Justice Harlan points out that a prohibition upon a State is not a power in Congress or the National Government, but is simply a denial of power to the State; that such was the Constitution before the Fourteenth Amendment. He shows, however, that the fourteenth Amendment presents the first instance in our history of the investiture of Congress with affirmative power by legislation to enforce an express prohibition upon the States. This is an important point. It is stated with great clearness, and defended with great force. He shows that the first clause of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment is of a distinctly affirmative character, and that Congress would have had the power to legislate directly as to that Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. section simply by implication, but that as to that as well as the express prohibitions upon the States, express power to legislate was given. There is one other point made by Justice Harlan which transfixes as with a spear the decision of the Court. It is this: As soon as the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments were adopted the colored citizen was entitled to the protection of section two, article four, namely: "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States." Now, suppose a colored citizen of Mississippi moves to Tennessee. Then, under the section last quoted, he would immediately become invested with all the privileges and immunities of a white citizen of Tennessee. Although denied these privileges and immunities in the State from which he emigrated, in the State to which he immigrates he could not be discriminated against on account of his color under the second section of the fourth article. Now, is it possible that he gets additional rights by immigration? Is it possible that the General Government is under a greater obligation to protect him in a State of which he is not a citizen than in a State of which he is a citizen? Must he leave home for protection, and after he has lived long enough in the State to which he immigrates to become a citizen there, must he again move in order to protect his rights? Must one adopt the doctrine of peripatetic protection -- the doctrine that the Constitution is good only in transit, and that when the citizen stops, the Constitution goes on and leaves him without protection? Justice Harlan shows that Congress had the right to legislate directly while that power was only implied, but that the moment the power was conferred in express terms, then according to the Supreme Court, it was lost. There is another splendid definition given by Justice Harlan -- a line drawn as broad as the Mississippi. It is the distinction between the rights conferred by a State and rights conferred by the Nation. Admitting that many rights conferred by a State cannot be enforced directly by Congress, Justice Harlan shows that rights granted by the Nation to an individual may be protected by direct legislation. This is a distinction that should not be forgotten, and it is a definition clear and perfect. Justice Harlan has shown that the Supreme Court failed to take into consideration the intention of the framers of the amendment; failed to see that the powers of Congress were given by express terms and did not rest upon implication; failed to see that the Thirteenth Amendment was broad enough to cover the Civil Rights Act; failed to see that under the three amendments rights and privileges were conferred by the Nation on citizens of the several States, and that these rights are under the perpetual protection of the General Government, and that for their enforcement Congress has the right to legislate directly; failed to see that all implications are now in favor of liberty instead of slavery; failed to comprehend that we have a new nation. with a new foundation, with different objects, ends, and aims, for the attainment of which we use different means and have been clothed with greater powers; failed to see that the Republic changed front; failed to appreciate the real reason for the adoption of the amendments, and failed to Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 JUSTICE HARLAN AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. understand that the Civil Rights Act was passed in order that a citizen of the United States might appeal from local prejudice to national justice. Justice Harlan shows that it was the object to accomplish for the black man what had been accomplished for the white man -- that is, to protect all their rights as free men and citizens; and that the one underlying purpose of the amendments and of the congressional legislation has been to clothe the black race with all the rights of citizenship, and to compel a recognition of their rights by citizens and States -- that the object was to do away with class tyranny, the meanest and bassist form of oppression. If Justice Harlan is wrong in his position, then, it may truthfully be said of the three amendments that: "The law hath bubbles as the water has, And these are of them." The decision of the Supreme Court denies the protection of the Nation to the citizens of the Nation. That decision has already borne fruit -- the massacre at Danville. The protection of the Nation having been withdrawn, the colored man was left to the mercy of local prejudices and hatreds. He is without appeal, without redress. The Supreme Court tells him that he must depend upon his enemies for justice. QUESTION: You seem to agree with all that Justice Harlan has said, and to have the greatest admiration for his opinion? ANSWER: Yes, a man rises from reading this dissenting opinion refreshed, invigorated, and strengthened. It is a mental and moral tonic. It was produced after a clear head had held conference with a good heart. It will furnish a perfectly clear plank, without knot or wind-shake, for the next Republican platform. It is written in good plain English, and ornamented with good sound sense. The average man can and will understand its every word. There is no subterfuge in it. Each position is taken in the open field. There is no resort to quibbles or technicalities -- no hiding. Nothing is secreted in the sleeve -- no searching for blind paths -- no stooping and looking for ancient tracks, grass-grown and dim. Each argument travels the highway -- "the big road." It is logical. The facts and conclusions agree, and fall naturally into line of battle. It is sincere and candid -- unpretentious and unanswerable. It is a grand defence of human rights -- a brave and manly plea for universal justice. It leaves the decision of the Supreme Court without argument, without reason, and without excuse. Such an exhibition of independence, courage and ability has won for Justice Harlan the respect and admiration of "both sides," and places him in the front rank of constitutional lawyers. -- The Inter-Ocian, Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 1883. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 POLITICS AND THEOLOGY. QUESTION: What is your opinion of Brewster's administration? ANSWER: I hardly think I ought to say much about the administration of Mr. Brewster. Of course many things have been done that I thought, and still think, extremely bad; but whether Mr. Brewster was responsible for the things done, or not, I do not pretend to say. When he was appointed to his present position, there was great excitement in the country about the Star Route cases, and Mr. Brewster was expected to prosecute everybody and everything to the extent of the law; in fact, I believe he was appointed by reason of having made such a promise. At that time there were hundreds of people interested in exaggerating all the facts connected with the Star Route cases, and when there were no facts to be exaggerated, they made some, and exaggerated them afterward. It may be that the Attorney General was misled, and he really supposed that all he heard was true. My objection to the administration of the Department of Justice is, that a resort was had to spies and detectives. The battle was not fought in the open field. Influences were brought to bear. Nearly all departments of the Government were enlisted. Everything was done to create a public opinion in favor of the prosecution. Everything was done that the cases might be decided on prejudice instead of upon facts. Everything was done to demoralize, frighten and overawe judges, witnesses and jurors. I do not pretend to say who was responsible, possibly I am not an impartial judge. I was deeply interested at the time, and felt all of these things, rather than reasoned about them. Possibly I cannot give a perfectly unbiased opinion. Personally, I have no feeling now upon the subject. The Department of Justice, in spite of its methods, did not succeed. That was enough for me. I think, however, when the country knows the facts, that the people will not approve of what was done. I do not believe in trying cases in the newspapers before they are submitted to jurors. That is a little too early. Neither do I believe in trying them in the newspapers after the verdicts have been rendered. That is a little too late. QUESTION: What are Mr. Blaine's chances for the presidency? ANSWER: My understanding is that Mr. Blaine is not a candidate for the nomination; that he does not wish his name to be used in that connection. He ought to have been nominated in 1876, and if he were a candidate, he would probably have the largest following; but my understanding is, that he does not, in any event, wish to be a candidate. He is a man perfectly familiar with the politics of this country, knows its history by heart, and is in every respect probably as well qualified to act as its Chief Magistrate as any man in the nation. He is a man of ideas, of action, and has positive qualities. He would not wait for something to turn up, and things would not have to wait long for him to turn them up. QUESTION: Who do you think will be nominated at Chicago? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 POLITICS AND THEOLOGY. ANSWER: Of course I have not the slightest idea who will be nominated. I may have an opinion as to who ought to be nominated, and yet I may be greatly mistaken in that opinion. There are hundreds of men in the Republican party, any one of whom, if elected, would make a good, substantial President, and there are many thousands of men about whom I know nothing, any one of whom would in all probability make a good President. We do not want any man to govern this county. This country governs itself. We want a President who will honestly and faithfully execute the laws, who will appoint postmasters and do the requisite amount of handshaking on public occasions, and we have thousands of men who can discharge the duties of that position. Washington is probably the worst place to find out anything definite upon the subject of presidential booms. I have thought for a long time that one of the most valuable men in the county was General Sherman. Everybody knows who and what he is. He has one great advantage -- he is a frank and outspoken man. He has opinions and he never hesitates about letting them be known. There is considerable talk now about Justice Harlan. His dissenting opinion in the Civil Rights ease has made every colored man his friend, and I think it will take considerable public patronage to prevent a good many delegates from the Southern States voting for him. QUESTION: What are your present views on theology? ANSWER: Well, I think my views have not undergone any change that I know of. I still insist that observation, reason and experience are the things to be depended upon in this world. I still deny the existence of the supernatural. I still insist that nobody can be good for you, or bad for you; that you cannot be punished for the crimes of others, nor rewarded for their virtues. I still insist that the consequences of good actions are always good, and those of bad actions always bad. I insist that nobody can plant thistles and gather figs; neither can they plant figs and gather thistles. I still deny that a finite being can commit an infinite sin; but I continue to insist that a God who would punish a man forever is an infinite tyrant. My views have undergone no change, except that the evidence of that truth constantly increases, and the dogmas of the church look, if possible, a little absurder every day. Theology, you know, is not a science. It stops at the grave; and faith is the end of theology. Ministers have not even the advantage of the doctors; the doctors sometimes can tell by a post-mortem examination whether they killed the man or not; but by cutting a man open after he is dead, the wisest theologians cannot tell what has become of his soul, and whether it was injured or helped by a belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures. Theology depends on assertion for evidence, and on faith for disciples. -- The Tribune, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1886. **** **** MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. QUESTION: I see that the clergy are still making all kinds of charges against you and your doctrines. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. ANSWER: Yes. Some of the charges are true and some are not. I suppose that they intend to get in the vicinity of veracity, and are probably stating my belief as it is honestly misunderstood by them. I admit that I have said and that I still think that Christianity is a blunder. But the question arises, What is Christianity? I do not mean, when I say that Christianity is a blunder, that the morality taught by Christians is a mistake. Morality is not distinctively Christian, any more than it is Mohammedan. Morality is human, it belongs to no ism, and does not depend for a foundation upon the supernatural, or upon any book, or upon any creed. Morality is itself a foundation. When I say that Christianity is a blunder, I mean all those things distinctively Christian are blunders. It is a blunder to say that an infinite being lived in Palestine, learned the carpenter's trade, raised the dead, cured the blind, and cast out devils, and that this God was finally assassinated by the Jews. This is absurd. All these statements are blunders, if not worse. I do not believe that Christ ever claimed that he was of supernatural origin, or that he wrought miracles, or that he would rise from the dead. If he did, he was mistaken -- honestly mistaken, perhaps, but still mistaken. The morality inculcated by Mohammed is good. The immorality inculcated by Mohammed is bad. If Mohammed was a prophet of God, it does not make the morality he taught any better, neither does it make the immorality any better or any worse. By this time the whole world ought to know that morality does not need to go into partnership with miracles. Morality is based upon the experience of mankind. It does not have to learn of inspired writers, or of gods, or divine persons. It is a lesson that the whole human race has been learning and learning from experience. He who upholds, or believes in, or teaches, the miraculous, commits a blunder. Now, what is morality? Morality is the best thing to do under the circumstances. Anything that tends to the happiness of mankind is moral. Anything that tends to unhappiness is immoral. We apply to the moral world rules and regulations as we do in the physical world. The man who does justice, or tries to do so -- who is honest and kind and gives to others what he claims for himself, is a moral man. All actions must be judged by their consequences. Where the consequences are good, the actions are good. Were the consequences are bad, the actions are bad; and all consequences are learned from experience. After we have had a certain amount of experience, we then reason from analogy. We apply our logic and say that a certain course will bring destruction, another course will bring happiness. There is nothing inspired about morality -- nothing supernatural. It is simply good, common sense, going hand in hand with kindness. Morality is capable of being demonstrated. You do not have to take the word of anybody; you can observe and examine for yourself. Larceny is the enemy of industry, and industry is good; therefore larceny is immoral. The family is the unit of good government; anything that tends to destroy the family is immoral. Honesty is the mother of confidence; it unites, combines and solidifies society. Dishonesty is disintegration; it destroys confidence; it brings social chaos; it is therefore immoral. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. I also admit that I regard the Mosaic account of the creation as an absurdity -- as a series of blunders. Probably Moses did the best he could. He had never talked with Humboldt or Laplace, He knew nothing of geology or astronomy. He had not the slightest suspicion of Kepler's Three Laws. He never saw a copy of Newton's Principii. Taking all these things into consideration, I think Moses did the best he could. The religious people say now that "days" did not mean days. Of these "six days" they make a kind of telescope, which you can push in or draw out at pleasure. If the geologists find that more time was necessary they will stretch them out. Should it turn out that the world is not quite as old as some think, they will push them up. The "six days" can now be made to suit any period of time. Nothing can be more: childish, frivolous or contradictory. Only a few years ago the Mosaic account was considered true, and Moses was regarded as a scientific authority. theology and astronomy were measured by the Mosaic standard. The opposite is now true. The church has changed; and instead of trying to prove that modern astronomy and geology are false, because they do not agree with Moses it is now endeavoring to prove that the account by Moses is true, because it agrees with modern astronomy and geology. In other words, the standard has changed; the ancient is measured by the modern, and where the literal statement in the Bible does not agree with modern discoveries, they do not change the discoveries, but give new meanings to the old account. We are not now endeavoring to reconcile science with the Bible, but to reconcile the Bible with science. Nothing shows the extent of modern doubt more than the eagerness with which Christians search for some new testimony. Luther answered Copernicus with a passage of Scripture, and he answered him to the satisfaction of orthodox ignorance. The truth is that the Jews adopted the stories of Creation, the Garden of Eden, Forbidden Fruit, and the Fall of Man. They were told by older barbarians than they, and the Jews gave them to us. I never said that the Bible is all bad. I have always admitted that there are many good and splendid things in the Jewish Scriptures, and many bad things. What I insist is that we should have the courage and the common sense to accept the good, and throw away the bad. Evil is not good because found in good company, and truth is still truth, even when surrounded by falsehood. QUESTION: I see that you are frequently charged with disrespect toward your parents -- with lack of reverence for the opinions of your father? ANSWER: I think my father and mother upon several religious questions were mistaken. In fact, I have no doubt that they were; but I never felt under the slightest obligation to defend my father's mistakes. No one can defend what he thinks is a mistake, without being dishonest. That is a poor way to show respect for parents. Every Protestant clergyman asks men and women who had Catholic parents, to desert the church in which they were raised. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. They have no hesitation in saying to these people that their fathers and mothers were mistaken, and that they were deceived by priests and popes. The probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything; but it is impossible for a man to be respectable enough to make a mistake respectable. There is nothing remarkably holy in a blunder, or praiseworthy in stubbing the toe of the mind against a mistake. Is it possible that logic stands paralyzed in the presence of parental absurdity? Suppose a man has a bad father; is he bound by the bad father's opinion, when he is satisfied that the opinion is wrong? How good does a father have to be, in order to put his son under obligation to defend his blunders? Suppose the father thinks one way, and the mother the other; what are the children to do? Suppose the father changes his opinion: what then? Suppose the father thinks one way and the mother the other, and they both die when the boy is young; and the boy is bound out; whose mistakes is he then bound to follow? Our missionaries tell the barbarian boy that his parents are mistaken, that they know nothing, and that the wooden god is nothing but a senseless idol. They do not hesitate to tell this boy that his mother believed lies, and hugged, it may be to her dying heart, a miserable delusion. Why should a barbarian boy cast reproach upon his parents? I believe it was Christ who commanded his disciples to leave father and mother; not only to leave them, but to desert them: and not only to desert father and mother, but to desert wives and children. It is also told of Christ that he said that he came to set fathers against children and children against fathers. Strange that a follower of his should object to a man differing in opinion from his parents! The truth is, logic knows nothing of consanguinity; facts have no relatives but other facts; and these facts do not depend upon the character of the person who states them, or upon the position of the discoverer. And this leads me to another branch of the same subject. The ministers are continually saying that certain great men -- kings, presidents, statesmen, millionaires -- have believed in the inspiration of the Bible. Only the other day, I read a sermon in which Carlyle was quoted as having said that "the Bible is a noble book. "That all may be and yet the book not be inspired. But what is the simple assertion of Thomas Carlyle worth? If the assertion is based upon a reason, then it is worth simply the value of the reason, and the reason is worth just as much without the assertion, but without the reason the assertion is worthless. Thomas Carlyle thought, and solemnly put the thought in print, that his father was a greater man than Robert Burns. His opinion did Burns no harm, and his father no good. Since reading his "Reminiscences," I have no great opinion of his opinion. In some respects he was undoubtedly a great man, in others a small one. No man should give the opinion of another as authority and in place of fact and reason, unless he is willing to take all the opinions of that man. An opinion is worth the warp and woof of fact and logic in it and no more. A man cannot add to the truthfulness of truth. In the ordinary business of life, we give certain weight to the opinion of specialists -- to the opinion of doctors, lawyers, scientists, and historians. Within Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. the domain of the natural, we take the opinions of our fellow-men; but we do not feel that we are absolutely bound by these opinions. We have the right to re-examine them, and if we find they are wrong we feel at liberty to say so. A doctor is supposed to have studied medicine; to have examined and explored the questions entering into his profession; but we know that doctors are often mistaken. We also know that there are many schools of medicine; that these schools disagree with one another, and that the doctors of each school disagree with one another. We also know that many patients die, and so far as we know, these patients have not come back to tell us whether the doctors killed them or not. The grave generally prevents a demonstration. It is exactly the same with the clergy. They have many schools of theology, all despising each other. Probably no two members of the same church exactly agree. They cannot demonstrate their propositions, because between the premise and the logical conclusion or demonstration, stands the tomb. A gravestone marks the end of theology. In some cases, the physician can, by a post-mortem examination, find what killed the patient, but there is no theological post-mortem. It is impossible, by cutting a body open, to find where the soul has gone; or whether baptism, or the lack of it, had the slightest effect upon final destiny. The church, knowing that there are no facts beyond the coffin, relies upon opinions, assertions and theories. For this reason it is always asking alms of distinguished people. Some President wishes to be re-elected, and thereupon speaks about the Bible as "the corner-stone of American Liberty." This sentence is a mouth large enough to swallow any church, and from that time forward the religious people will be citing that remark of the politician to substantiate the inspiration of the Scriptures. The man who accepts opinions because they have been entertained by distinguished people, is a mental snob. When we blindly follow authority we are serfs. When our reason is convinced we are freemen. It is rare to find a fully rounded and complete man. A man may be a great doctor and a poor mechanic, a successful politician and a poor metaphysician, a poor painter and a good poet. The rarest thing in the world is a logician -- that is to say, a man who knows the value of a fact. It is hard to find mental proportion. Theories may be established by names, but facts cannot be demonstrated in that way. Very small people are sometimes right, and very great people are sometimes wrong. Ministers are sometimes right. In all the philosophies of the world there are undoubtedly contradictions and absurdities. The mind of man is imperfect and perfect results are impossible. A mirror, in order to reflect a perfect picture, a perfect copy, must itself be perfect. The mind is a little piece of intellectual glass the surface of which is not true, not perfect. In consequence of this, every image is more or less distorted. The less we know, the more we imagine that we can know; but the more we know, the smaller seems the sum of knowledge. The less we know, the more we expect, the more we hope for, and the more seems within the range of probability. The less we have, the more we want. There never was a banquet magnificent enough to gratify the imagination of a beggar. The moment people begin to reason about what they call the supernatural, they seem to lose their minds. People seem to have lost their reason in religious Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. matters, very much as the dodo is said to have lost its wings; they have been restricted to a little inspired island, and by disuse their reason has been lost. In the Jewish Scriptures you will find simply the literature of the Jews. Yon will find there the tears and anguish of captivity, patriotic fervor, national aspiration, proverbs for the conduct of daily life, laws, regulations, customs, legends, philosophy and folly. These books, of course, were not written by one man, but by many authors. They do not agree, having been written in different centuries,under different circumstances. I see that Mr. Beecher has at last concluded that the Old Testament does not teach the doctrine of immorality. He admits that from Mount Sinai came no hope for the dead. It is very curious that we find in the Old Testament no funeral service. No one stands by the dead and predicts another life, In the Old Testament there, is no promise of another world. I have sometimes thought that while the Jews were slaves in Egypt, the doctrine of immortality became hateful. They built so many tombs; they carried so many burdens to commemorate the dead; they saw a nation waste its wealth to adorn its graves, and leave the living naked to embalm the dead, that they concluded the doctrine was a curse and never should be taught. QUESTION: If the Jews did not believe in immorality, how do you account for the allusions made to witches and wizards and things of that character? ANSWER: When Saul visited the Witch of Endor, and she, by some magic spell, called up Samuel, the prophet said: "Why hast thou disquieted me, to call me up?" He did not say: Why have you called me from another world? The idea expressed is: I was asleep, why did you disturb that repose which should be eternal? The ancient Jews believed in witches and wizards and familiar spirits; but they did not seem to think that these spirits had once been men and women. They spoke of them as belonging to another world, a world to which man would never find his way. At that time it was supposed that Jehovah and his angels lived in the sky, but that region was not spoken of as the destined home of man. Jacob saw angels going up and down the ladder, but not the spirits of those he had known. There are two cases where it seems that men were good enough to be adopted into the family of heaven. Enoch was translated, and Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire. As it is exceedingly cold at the height of a few miles, it is easy to see why the chariot was of fire, and the same fact explains another circumstance -- the dropping of the mantle. The Jews probably believed in the existence of other beings -- that is to say, in angels and gods and evil spirits -- and that they lived in other worlds -- but there is no passage snowing that they believe in what we call the immortality of the soul. QUESTION: Do you believe, or disbelieve, in the immortality of the soul? ANSWER: I neither assert nor deny; I simply admit that I do not know. Upon that subject I am absolutely without evidence. This is the only world that I was ever in. There may be spirits, but I have never met them, and do not know that I would recognize a Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. spirit. I can form no conception of what is called spiritual life. It may be that I am deficient in imagination, and that ministers have no difficulty in conceiving of angels and disembodied souls. I have not the slightest idea how a soul looks, what shape it is, how it goes from one place to another, whether it walks or flies. I cannot conceive of the immaterial having form; neither can I conceive of anything existing without form, and yet the fact that I cannot conceive of a thing does not prove that the thing does not exist, but it does prove that I know nothing about it, and that being so, I ought to admit my ignorance. I am satisfied of a good many things that I do not know. I am satisfied that there is no place of eternal torment. I am satisfied that that doctrine has done more harm than all the religious ideas, other than that, have done good. I do not want to take any hope from any human heart. I have no objection to people believing in any good thing -- no objection to their expecting a crown of infinite joy for every human being. Many people imagine that immortality must be an infinite good; but, after all, there is something terrible in the idea of endless life. Think of a river that never reaches the sea; of a bird that never folds its wings; of a journey that never ends. Most people find great pleasure in thinking about and in believing in another world. There the prisoner expects to be free; the slave to find liberty; the poor man expects wealth; the rich man happiness; the peasant dreams of power, and the king of contentment. They expect to find there what they lack here. I do not wish to destroy these dreams. I am endeavoring to put out the everlasting fires. A good, cool grave is infinitely better than the fiery furnace of Jehovah's wrath. Eternal sleep is better than eternal pain. For my part I would rather be annihilated than to be an angel, with all the privileges of heaven, and yet have within my breast a heart that could be happy while those who had loved me in this world were in perdition. I most sincerely hope that the future life will fulfill all splendid dreams; but in the religion of the present day there is no joy. Nothing is so devoid of comfort, when bending above our dead, as the assertions of theology unsupported by a single fact. The promises are so far away, and the dead are so near. From words spoken eighteen centuries ago, the echoes are so weak, and the sounds of the clods on the coffin are so loud. Above the grave what can the honest minister say? If the dead were not a Christian, what then? What comfort can the orthodox clergyman give to the widow of the honest unbeliever? If Christianity is true, the other world will be worse than this. There the many will be miserable, only the few happy; there the miserable cannot better their condition; the future has no star of hope, and in the east of eternity there can never be a dawn. QUESTION: If you take away the idea of eternal punishment, how do you propose to restrain men; in what way will you influence conduct for good? ANSWER: Well, the trouble with religion is that it postpones punishment and reward to another world. Wrong is wrong, because it breeds unhappiness. right is right, be-cause it tends to the happiness of man. These facts are the basis of what I call the religion of this world. When a man does wrong, the consequences Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. follow, and between the cause and effect, a Redeemer cannot step. Forgiveness cannot form a breastwork between act and consequence. There should be a religion of the body -- a religion that will prevent deformity, that will refuse to multiply insanity, that will not propagate disease -- a religion that is judged by its consequences in this world. Orthodox Christianity has taught, and still teaches, that in this world the difference between the good and bad is that the bad enjoy themselves, while the good carry the cross of virtue with bleeding brows bound and pierced with the thorns of honesty and kindness. All this, in my judgment, is immoral. The man who does wrong carries a cross. There is no world, no star, in which the result of wrong is real happiness. There is no world, no star, in which the result of right doing is unhappiness. Virtue and vice must be the same everywhere. Vice must be vice everywhere, because its consequences are evil; and virtue must be virtue everywhere, because its consequences are good. There can be no such thing as forgiveness. These facts are the only restraining influences possible -- the innocent man cannot suffer for the guilty and satisfy the law. QUESTION: How do you answer the argument, or the fact, that the church is constantly increasing, and that there are now four hundred millions of Christians? ANSWER: That is what I call the argument of numbers. If that argument is good now, it was always good. If Christians were at any time in the minority, then, according to this argument, Christianity was wrong. Every religion that has succeeded has appealed to the argument of numbers. There was a time when Buddhism was in a majority. Buddha not only had, but has more followers than Christ. Success is not a demonstration. Mohammed was a success, and a success from the commencement. Upon a thousand fields he was victor. Of the scattered tribes of the desert, he made a nation, and this nation took the fairest part of Europe from the followers of the cross. In the history of the world, the success of Mohammed is unparalleled, but this success does not establish that he was the prophet of God. Now, it is claimed that there are some four hundred millions of Christians. To make that total I am counted as a Christian; I am one of the fifty or sixty millions of Christians in the United States -- excluding Indians, not taxed. By the census report, we are all going to heaven -- we are all orthodox. At the last great day we can refer with confidence to the ponderous volumes containing the statistics of the United States. As a matter of fact, how many Christians are there in the United States -- how many believers in the inspiration of the Scriptures -- how many real followers of Christ? I will not pretend to give the number, but I will venture to say that there are not fifty millions. How many in England? Where are the four hundred millions found? To make this immense number, they have counted all the Heretics, all the Catholics, all the Jews, Spiritualists, Universalists and Unitarians, all the babes, all the idiotic and insane, all the Infidels, all the scientists, all the unbelievers. As a matter of fact, they have no right to count any except the orthodox members Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 MORALITY AND IMMORALITY. of the orthodox churches. There may be more "members" now than formerly, and this increase of members is due to a decrease of religion. Thousands of members are only nominal Christians, wearing the old uniform simply because they do not wish to be charged with desertion. The church, too, is a kind of social institution, a club with a creed instead of by. laws, and the creed is never defended unless attacked by an outsider. No objection is made to the minister because he is liberal, if he says nothing about it in his pulpit. A man like Mr. Beecher draws a congregation, not because he is a Christian, but because he is a genius; not because he is orthodox, but because he has something to say. He is an intellectual athlete. He is full of pathos and poetry. He has more description than divinity: more charity than creed, and altogether more common sense than theology. For these reasons thousands of people love to hear him. On the other hand, there are many people who have a morbid desire for the abnormal -- for intellectual deformities -- for thoughts that have two heads. This accounts for the success of some of Mr. Beecher's rivals. Christians claim that success is a test of truth. Has any church succeeded as well as the Catholic? Was the tragedy of the Garden of Eden a success? Who succeeded there? The last best thought is not a success, if you mean that only that is a success which has succeeded, and if you mean by succeeding, that it has won the assent of the majority. Besides there is no time fixed for the test. Is that true which succeeds to-day, or next year, or in the next century? Once the Copernican system was not a success. There is no time fixed. The result is we have to wait. A thing to exist at all has to be, to a certain extent, a success A thing cannot even die without having been a success. It certainly succeeded enough to have life. Presbyterians should remember, while arguing the majority argument, and the success argument, that there are far more Catholics than Protestants, and that the Catholics can give a longer list of distinguished names. My answer to all this, however, is that the history of the world shows that ignorance has always been in the majority. There is one right road; numberless paths that are wrong. Truth is one; error is many. When a great truth has been discovered, one man has pitted himself against the world. A few think: the many believe. The few lead; the many follow. The light of the new day, as it looks over the window sill of the east, falls at first on only one forehead. There is another thing. A great many people pass for Christians who are not. Only a little while ago a couple of ladies were returning from church in a carriage. They had listened to a good orthodox sermon, One said to the other: "I am going to tell you something -- I am going to shock you -- I do not believe the Bible," And the other replied: "Neither do I." -- The News, Detroit, Michigan, January 6, 1884. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. QUESTION: What will be the main issues in the next presidential campaign? ANSWER: I think that the principal issues will be civil rights and protection for American industries. The Democratic party is not a unit on the tariff question -- neither is the Republican; but I think that a majority of the Democrats are in favor of free trade and a majority of Republicans in favor of a protective tariff. The Democratic Congressmen will talk just enough about free trade to frighten the manufacturing interests of the country, and probably not quite enough to satisfy the free traders. The result will be that the Democrats will talk about reforming the tariff, but will do nothing but talk. I think the tariff ought to be reformed in many particulars; but as long as we need to raise a great revenue my idea is that it ought to be so arranged as to protect to the utmost, without producing monopoly in American manufacturers. I am in favor of protection because it multiplies industries; and I am in favor of a great number of industries because they develop the brain, because they give employment to all and allow us to utilize all the muscle and all the sense we have. If we were all farmers we would grow stupid. If we all worked at one kind of mechanic art we would grow dull.But with a variety of industries, with a constant premium upon ingenuity, with the promise of wealth as the reward of success in any direction, the people become intelligent, and while we are protecting our industries we develop our brains. So I am in favor of the protection of civil rights by the Federal Government, and that, in my judgment, will be one of the great issues in the next campaign. QUESTION: I see that you say that one of the great issues of the coming campaign will be civil rights; what do you mean by that? ANSWER: Well, I mean this. The Supreme Court has recently decided that a colored man whose rights are trampled upon, in a State, cannot appeal to the Federal Government for protection. The decision amounts to this: That Congress has no right until a State has acted, and has acted contrary to the Constitution. Now, if a State refuses to do anything upon the subject, what is the citizen to do? My opinion is that the Government is bound to protect its citizens, and as a consideration for this protection, the citizen is bound to stand by the Government. When the nation calls for troops, the citizen of each State is bound to respond, no matter what his State may think. This doctrine must be maintained, or the United States ceases to be a nation. If a man looks to his State for protection, then he must go with his State. My doctrine is, that there should be patriotism upon the one hand, and protection upon the other. If a State endeavors to secede from the Union, a citizen of that State should be in a position to defy the State and appeal to the Nation for protection. The doctrine now is, that the General Government turns the citizen over to the State for protection, and if the State does not protect him, that is his misfortune; and the consequence of this doctrine will be to build up the old heresy of State Sovereignty -- a doctrine that was never appealed to except in the interest of thieving or robbery. That doctrine was first appealed to when the Congress was formed, because they were afraid the National Government would interfere with the slave trade. It was next appealed to, to uphold the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. Fugitive Slave Law. It was next appealed to, to give the territories of the United States to slavery. Then it was appealed to, to support rebellion, and now out of this doctrine they attempt to build a breastwork, behind which they can trample upon the rights of the colored men. I believe in the sovereignty of the Nation. A nation that cannot protect its citizens ought to stop playing nation. In the old times the Supreme Court found no difficulty in supporting slavery by "inference", by "intendment," but now that liberty has became national, the Court is driven to less than a literal interpretation. If the Constitution does not support liberty, it is of no use. To maintain liberty is the only legitimate object of human government. I hope the time will come when the judges of the Supreme Court will be elected, say for a period of ten years. I do not believe in the legal monk system. I believe in judges still maintaining an interest in human affairs. QUESTION: What do you think of the Mormon question? ANSWER: I do not believe in the bayonet plan. Mormonism must he done away with by the thousand influences of civilization, by education, by the elevation of the people. Of course, a gentleman would rather have one noble woman than a hundred females. I hate the system of polygamy. Nothing is more infamous. I admit that the Old Testament upholds it. I admit that the patriarchs were mostly polygamists. I admit that Solomon was mistaken on that subject. But notwithstanding the fact that polygamy is upheld by the Jewish Scriptures, I believe it to be a great wrong. At the same time if you undertake to get that idea out of the Mormons by force you will not succeed.I think a good way to do away with that institution would be for all the churches to unite, bear the expense, and send missionaries to Utah; let these ministers call the people together and read to them the lives of David, Solomon, Abraham and other patriarchs. Let all the missionaries be called home from foreign fields and teach these people that they should not imitate the only men with whom God ever condescended to hold intercourse. Let these frightful examples be held up to these people, and if it is done earnestly, it seems to me that the result would be good. Polygamy exists. All laws upon the subject should take that fact into consideration, and punishment should be provided for offenses thereafter committed. The children of Mormons should be legitimatized. In other words, in attempting to settle this question, we should accomplish all the good possible, with the least possible harm. I agree mostly with Mr. Beecher, and I utterly disagree with the Rev. Mr. Newman. Mr. Newman wants to kill and slay. He does not rely upon Christianity, but upon brute force. He has lost his confidence in example, and appeals to the bayonet. Mr. Newman had a discussion with one of the Mormon elders, and was put to ignominious flight; no wonder that he appeals to force. Having failed in argument, he calls for artillery; having been worsted in the appeal to Scripture, he asks for the sword. He says, failing to convert, let us kill; and he takes this position in the name of the religion of kindness and forgiveness. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. Strange that a minister now should throw away the Bible and yell for a bayonet; that he should desert the Scriptures and call for soldiers; that he should lose confidence in the power of the Spirit and trust in the sword. I recommend that Mormonism be done away with by distributing the Old Testament through Utah. QUESTION: What do you think of the investigation of the Department of Justice now going on? ANSWER: The result, in my Judgment, will depend on its thoroughness. If Mr. Springer succeeds in proving exactly what the Department of Justice did, the methods pursued; if he finds out what their spies and detectives and agents were instructed to do, then I think the result will be as disastrous to the Department as beneficial to the country. The people seem to have forgotten that a little while after the first Star Route trial three of the agents of the Department of Justice were indicted for endeavoring to bribe the jury. They forget that Mr. Bowen, an agent of the Department of Justice, is a fugitive, because he endeavored to bribe the foreman of the jury, They seem to forget that the Department of Justice, in order to cover its own tracks, had the foreman of the jury indicted because one of its agents endeavored to bribe him. Probably this investigation will nudge the ribs of the public enough to make people remember these things. Personally, I have no feeling on the subject. It was enough for me that we succeeded in thwarting its methods, in spite of its detectives, spies, and informers. The Department is already beginning to dissolve. Brewster Cameron has left it, and as a reward has been exiled to Arizona. Mr. Brewster will probably be the next to pack his official valise. A few men endeavored to win popularity by pursuing a few others, and thus far they have been conspicuous failures. MacVeagh and James are to-day enjoying the oblivion earned by misdirected energy, and Mr. Brewster will soon keep them company. The history of the world does not furnish an instance of more flagrant abuse of power. There never was a trial as shamelessly conducted by a government. But, as I said before, I have no feeling now except that of pity. QUESTION: I see that Mr. Beecher is coming round to your views on theology? ANSWER: I would not have the egotism to say that he was coming round to my views, but evidently Mr. Beecher has been growing. His head has been instructed by his heart; and if a man will allow even the poor plant of pity to grow in his heart he will hold in infinite execration all orthodox religion. The moment he will allow himself to think that eternal consequences depend upon human life; that the few short years we live, in this world determine for an eternity the question of infinite joy or infinite pain; the moment he thinks of that he will see that it is an infinite absurdity. For instance, a man is born in Arkansas and lives there to be seventeen or eighteen years of age; is it possible that he can be truthfully told at the day of judgment that he had a fair chance? Just imagine a man being held eternally responsible for his conduct in Delaware! Mr. Beecher is a man of great genius -- full of poetry and pathos. Every now and then he is driven back by the orthodox members of his Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. congregation toward the old religion, and for the benefit of those weak disciples he will preach what is called "a doctrinal sermon;" but before he gets through with it, seeing it is infinitely cruel, he utters a cry of horror, and protests with all the strength of his nature against the cruelty of the creed. I imagine that he has always thought that he was under great obligation to Plymouth Church, but the truth is that that church depends upon him; that church gets its character from Mr. Beecher. He has done a vast deal to ameliorate the condition of the average orthodox mind. He excites the envy of the mediocre minister, and he excites the hatred of the really orthodox, but he receives the approbation of good and generous men everywhere. For my part, I have no quarrel with any religion that does not threaten eternal punishment to very good people, and that does not promise eternal reward to very bad people. If orthodox Christianity be true, some of the best people I know are going to hell, and some of the meanest I have ever known are either in heaven or on the road. Of course, I admit that there are thousands and millions of good Christians -- honest and noble people, but in my judgment, Mr. Beecher is the greatest man in the world who now occupies a pulpit. Speaking of a man's living in Delaware, a young man, some time ago, came up to me on the street, in an Eastern city and asked for money. " What is your business," I asked. "I am a waiter by profession." "Where do you come from?" "Delaware." "Well, what was the matter -- did you drink, or cheat your employer, or were you idle?" "No." "What was the trouble?" "Well, the truth is, the State is so small they don't need any waiters; they all reach for what they want." QUESTION: Do you not think there are some dangerous tendencies in Liberalism? ANSWER: I will first state this proposition: The credit system in morals, as in business, breeds extravagance. The cash system in morals, as well as in business, breeds economy. We will suppose a community in which everybody is bound to sell on credit, and in which every creditor can take the benefit of the bankrupt law every Saturday night, and the constable pays the costs. In my judgment that community would be extravagant as long as the merchants lasted. We will take another community in which everybody has to pay cash, and in my judgment that community will be a very economical one. Now, then, let us apply this to morals. Christianity allows everybody to sin on a credit, and allows a man who has lived, we will say sixty-nine years, what Christians are pleased to call a worldly life, an immoral life. They allow him on his deathbed, between the last dose of medicine and the last breath, to be converted, and that man who has done nothing except evil, becomes an angel. Here is another man who has lived the same length of time, doing all the good he possibly could do, but not meeting with what they an pleased to call a change of heart;" he goes to a world of pain. Now, my doctrine is that everybody must reap exactly what he sows, other things being equal. If he acts badly he will not be very happy; if he acts well he will not be very sad. I believe in the doctrine of consequences, and that every man must stand the consequences of his own acts. It seems to me Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 POLITICS, MORMONISM AND MR. BEECHER. that that fact will have a greater restraining influence than the idea that you can, just before you leave this world, shift your burden on to somebody else. I am a believer in the restraining influences of liberty, because responsibility goes hand in hand with freedom. I do not believe that the gallows is the last step between earth and heaven. I do not believe in the conversion and salvation of murderers while their innocent victims are in hell. The church has taught so long that he who acts virtuously carries a cross, and that only sinners enjoy themselves, that it may be that for a little while after men leave the church they may go to extremes until they demonstrate for themselves that the path of vice is the path of thorns, and that only along the wayside of virtue grow the flowers of joy. The church has depicted virtue as a sour, wrinkled termagant; an old woman with nothing but skin and bones, and a temper beyond description; and at the same time vice has been painted in all the voluptuous outlines of a Greek statue. The truth. is exactly the other way. A thing is right because it pays; a thing is wrong because it does not; and when I use the word "pays," I mean in the highest and noblest sense. -- The Daily News, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1884. **** **** FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. QUESTION: Who will be the Republican nominee for President? ANSWER: The correct answer to this question would make so many men unhappy that I have concluded not to give it. QUESTION: Has not the Democracy injured itself irretrievably by permitting the free trade element to rule it? ANSWER: I do not think that the Democratic party weakened itself by electing Carlisle, Speaker. I think him an excellent man, an exceedingly candid man, and one who will do what he believes ought to be done, I have a very high opinion of Mr. Carlisle. I do not suppose any party in this country is really for free trade. I find that all writers upon the subject, no matter which side they are on, are on that; side with certain exceptions. Adam Smith was in favor of free trade, with a few exceptions, and those exceptions were in matters where he thought it was for England's interests not to have free trade. The same may be said of all writers. So far as I can see, the free traders have all the arguments and the protectionists all the facts. The free trade theories are splendid, but they will not work; the results are disastrous. We find by actual experiment that it is better to protect home industries. It was once said that protection created nothing but monopoly; the argument was that way; but the facts are not. Take, for instance, steel rails; when we bought them of England we paid one hundred and twenty-five dollars a ton. I believe there was a tariff of twenty- eight or twenty-nine dollars a ton, and yet in spite of all the arguments going to show that protection would simply increase prices in America, would simply enrich the capitalist and impoverish the consumer, steel rails are now produced, I believe, right here in Colorado for forty-two dollars a ton. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. After all, it is a question of labor; a question of prices that shall be paid the laboring man; a question of what the laboring man shall eat; whether he shall eat meat or soup made from the bones. Very few people take into consideration the value of raw material and the value of labor. Take, for instance, your ton of steel rails worth forty-two dollars. The iron in the earth is not worth twenty-five cents. The coal in the earth and the lime in the ledge together are not worth twenty-five cents. Now, then, of the forty-two dollars. forty-one and a half is labor. There is not two dollars worth of raw material in a locomotive worth fifteen thousand dollars. By raw material I mean the material in the earth. There is not in the works of a watch which will sell for fifteen dollars, raw material of the value of one-half cent. All the rest is labor. A ship, a man-of-war that costs one million dollars -- the raw material in the earth is not worth, in my judgment, one thousand dollars. All the rest is labor. If there is any way to protect American labor, I am in favor of it. If the present tariff does not do it, then I am in favor of changing to one that will. If the Democratic party takes a stand for free trade or anything like it, they will need protection; they will need protection at the polls; that is to say, they will meet only with defeat and disaster. QUESTION: What should be done with the surplus revenue? ANSWER: My answer to that is, reduce internal revenue taxation until the present surplus is exhausted, and then endeavor so to arrange your tariff that you will not produce more than you need. I think the easiest question to grapple with on this earth is a surplus of money. I do not believe in distributing it among the States. I do not think there could be a better certificate of the prosperity of our country than the fact that we are troubled with a surplus revenue; that we have the machinery for collecting taxes in such perfect order, so ingeniously contrived, that it cannot be stopped; that it goes right on collecting money, whether we want it or not; and the wonderful thing about it is that nobody complains. If nothing else can be done with the surplus revenue, probably we had better pay some of our debts. I would suggest, as a last resort, to pay a few honest claims. QUESTION: Are you getting nearer to or farther away from God, Christianity and the Bible? ANSWER: In the first place, as Mr. Locke so often remarked, we will define our terms. If by the word "God"is meant a person, a being, who existed before the creation of the universe, and who controls all that is, except himself, I do not believe in such a being; but if by the word God is meant all that is, that is to say, the universe, including every atom and every star, then I am a believer. I suppose the word that would nearest describe me is "Pantheist." I cannot believe that a being existed from eternity, and who finally created this universe after having wasted an eternity in idleness; but upon this subject I know just as little as anybody ever did or ever will, and, in my judgment, just as much. My intellectual horizon is somewhat limited, and, to tell you Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. the truth, this is the only world that I was ever in. I am what might be called a representative of a rural district, and, as a matter of fact, I know very little about my district. I believe it was Confucius who said: "How should I know anything about another world when I know so little of this?" The greatest intellects of the world have endeavored to find words to express their conception of God, of the first cause, or of the science of being, but they have never succeeded. I find in the old Confession of Faith, in the old Catechism, for instance, this description: that God is a being without body, parts or passions. I think it would trouble anybody to find a better definition of nothing. That describes a vacuum, that is to say, that describes the absence of everything. I find that theology is a subject that only the most ignorant are certain about, and that the more a man thinks, the less he knows. From the Bible God, I do not know that I am going farther and farther away. I have been about as far as a man could get for many years. I do not believe in the God of the Old Testament. Now, as to the next branch of your question, Christianity. The question arises, What is Christianity? I have no objection to the morality taught as a part of Christianity, no objection to its charity, its forgiveness, its kindness; no objection to its hope for this world and another, not the slightest, but all these things do not make Christianity. Mohammed taught certain doctrines that are good, but the good in the teachings of Mohammed is not Mohammedism. When I speak of Christianity I speak of that which is distinctly Christian. For instance, the idea that the Infinite God was born in Palestine, learned the carpenter's trade, disputed with the parsons of his time, excited the wrath of the theological bigots, and was finally crucified; that afterward he was raised from the dead, and that if anybody believes this he will be saved and if he fails to believe it, he will be lost; in other words, that which is distinctly Christian in the Christian system, is its supernaturalism, its miracles, its absurdity. Truth does not need to go into partnership with the supernatural. What Christ said is worth the reason it contains. If a man raises the dead and then says twice two are five, that changes no rule in mathematics. If a multiplication table was divinely inspired, that does no good. The question is, is it correct? So I think that in the world of morals, we must prove that a thing is right or wrong by experience, by analogy, not by miracles. There is no fact in physical science that can be supernaturally demonstrated. Neither is there any fact in the moral world that could be substantiated by miracles. Now, then, keeping in mind that by Christianity I mean the supernatural in that system, of course I am just as far away from it as I can ever get. For the man Christ I have respect. He was an infidel in his day, and the ministers of his day cried out blasphemy, as they have been crying ever since, against every person who has suggested a new thought or shown the worthlessness of an old one. Now, as to the third part of the question, the Bible. People say that the Bible is inspired. Well what does inspiration mean? Did God write it? No; but the men who did write it were guided by the holy Spirit. Very well. Did they write exactly what the Holy Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 22 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. Spirit wanted them to write? Well, religious people say, yes. At the same time they admit that the gentlemen who were collecting, or taking down in shorthand what was said, had to use their own words. Now, we all know that the same words do not have the same meaning to all people. It is impossible to convey the same thoughts to all minds by the same language, and it is for that reason that the Bible has produced so many sects, not only disagreeing with each other, but disagreeing among themselves. We find, then, that it is utterly impossible for God (admitting that there is one) to convey the same thoughts by human language to all people. No two persons understand the same language alike, A man's understanding depends upon his experience, upon his capacity, upon the particular bent of his mind -- in fact, upon the countless influences that have made him what he is. Everything in nature tells everyone who sees it a story, but that story depends upon the capacity of the one to whom it is told. The sea says one thing to the ordinary man, and another thing to Shakespeare, The stars have not the same language for all people. The consequence is that no book can tell the same story to any two persons. The Jewish Scriptures are like other books, written by different men in different ages of the world, hundreds of years apart, filled with contradictions. They embody, I presume, fairly enough, the wisdom and ignorance, the reason and prejudice, of the times in which they were written. They are worth the good that is in them, and the question is whether we will take the good and throw the bad away. There are good laws and bad laws. There are wise and foolish sayings. There are gentle and cruel passages, and you can find a text to suit almost any frame of mind; whether you wish to do an act of charity or murder a neighbor's babe, you will find a passage that will exactly fit the case. So that I can say that I am still for the reasonable, for the natural; and I am still opposed to the absurd and supernatural. QUESTION: Is there any better or more ennobling belief than Christianity; if so, what is it? ANSWER: There are many good things, of course, in every religion, or they would not have existed; plenty of good precepts in Christianity, but the thing that I object to more than all others is the doctrine of eternal punishment, the idea of hell for many and heaven for the few. Take from Christianity the doctrine of eternal punishment and I have no particular objection to what is generally preached, If you will take that away, and all the supernatural connected with it, I have no objection; but that doctrine of eternal punishment tends to harden the human heart. It has produced more misery than all the other doctrines in the world. It has shed more blood; it has made more martyrs. It has lighted the fires of persecution and kept the sword of cruelty wet with heroic blood for at least a thousand years. There is no crime that that doctrine has not produced. I think it would be impossible for the imagination to conceive of a worse religion than orthodox Christianity -- utterly impossible; a doctrine that divides this world, a doctrine that divides families, a doctrine that teaches the son that he can be happy, with his mother in perdition; the husband that he can he happy in heaven while his wife suffers the agonies of hell. This doctrine is infinite injustice, and tends to Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 23 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. subvert all ideas of justice in the human heart. I think it would be impossible to conceive of a doctrine better calculated to make wild beasts of men than that; In fact, that doctrine was born of all the wild beast there is in man. It was born of infinite revenge. Think of preaching that you must believe that a certain being was the son of God, no matter whether your reason is convinced or not. Suppose one should meet, we will say on London Bridge, a man clad in rags, and he should stop us and say, "My friend. I wish to talk with you a moment. I am the rightful King of Great Britain," and you should say to him, "Well, my dinner is waiting; I have no time to bother about who the King of England is," and then he should meet another and insist on his stopping while he pulled out some papers to show that he was the rightful King of England, and the other man should say, "I have got business here, my friend; I am selling goods, and I have no time to bother my head about who the King of England is. No doubt you are the King of England, but you don't look like him. "And then suppose he stops another man, and makes the same statement to him, and the other man should laugh at him and say, "I don't want to hear anything on this subject; you are crazy; you ought to go to some insane asylum, or put something on your head to keep you cool. "And suppose, after all, it should turn out that the man was King of England, and should afterward make his claim good and be crowned in Westminster. What would we think of that King if he should hunt up the gentlemen that he met on London Bridge, and have their heads cut off because they had no faith that he was the rightful heir? And what would we think of a God now who would damn a man eighteen hundred years after the event, because he did not believe that he was God at the time he was living in Jerusalem; not only damn the fellows that he met, and who did not believe in him, but gentlemen who lived eighteen hundred years afterward, and who certainly could have known nothing of the facts except from hearsay. The best religion, after all, is common sense; a religion for this world, one world at a time, a religion for to-day. We want a religion that will deal in questions in which we are interested. How are we to do away with crime? How are we to do away with pauperism? How are we to do away with the want and misery in every civilized country?England is a Christian nation, and yet about one in six in the city of London dies in almshouses, asylums, prisons, hospitals and jails. We,I suppose, are a civilized nation, and yet all the penitentiaries are crammed; there is want on every hand, and my opinion is that we had better turn our attention to this world. Christianity is charitable; Christianity spends a great deal of money; but I am somewhat doubtful as to the good that is accomplished. There ought to be some way to prevent crime; not simply to punish it. There ought to be some way to prevent pauperism, not simply to relieve temporarily a pauper, and if the ministers and good people belonging to the churches would spend their time investigating the affairs of this world and let the New Jerusalem take care of itself, I think it would be far better. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 24 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. The church is guilty of one great contradiction. The ministers are always talking about worldly people, and yet, were it not for worldly people, who would pay the salary? How could the church live a minute unless somebody attended to the affairs of this world? The best religion, in my judgment, is common sense going along hand in hand with kindness, and not troubling ourselves about another world until we get there. I am willing for one, to wait and see what kind of a country it will be. QUESTION: Does the question of the inspiration of the Scriptures affect the beauty and benefits of Christianity here and hereafter? ANSWER: A belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures has done, in my judgment, great harm. The Bible has been the breastwork for nearly everything wrong. The defenders of slavery relied on the Bible. The Bible was the real auction block on which every negro stood when he was sold. I never knew a minister to preach in favor of slavery that did not take his text from the Bible. The Bible teaches persecution for opinion's sake. The Bible -- that is the Old Testament -- upholds polygamy, and just to the extent that men, through the Bible, have believed that slavery, religious persecution, wars of extermination and polygamy were taught by God, just to that extent the Bible has done great harm. The idea of inspiration enslaves the human mind and debauches the human heart. QUESTION: Is not Christianity and the belief in God a check upon mankind in general and thus a good thing in itself? ANSWER: This, again, brings up the question of what you mean by Christianity, but taking it for granted that you mean by Christianity the church, then I answer, when the church had almost absolute authority, then the world was the worst. Now, as to the other part of the question, "Is not a belief in God a check upon mankind in general?" That is owing to what kind of God the man believes in. When mankind believed in the God of the Old Testament, I think that belief was a bad thing; the tendency was bad. I think that John Calvin patterned after Jehovah as nearly as his health and strength would permit. Man makes God in his own image, and bad men are not apt to have a very good God if they make him. I believe it is far better to have a real belief in goodness, in kindness, in honesty and in mankind than in any supernatural being whatever. I do not suppose it would do any harm for a man to believe in a real good God, a God without revenge, a God that was not very particular in having a man believe a doctrine whether he could understand it or not. I do not believe that a belief of that kind would do any particular harm. There is a vast difference between the God of John Calvin and the God of Henry Ward Beecher, and a great difference between the God of Cardinal Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza and the God of Theodore Parker. QUESTION: Well, Colonel, is the world growing better or worse? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 25 FREE TRADE AND CHRISTIANITY. ANSWER: I think better in some respects, and worse in others; but on the whole, better. I think that while events, like the pendulum of a clock, go backward and forward, man, like the hands, goes forward. I think there is more reason and less religion, more charity and less creed. I think the church is improving. Ministers are ashamed to preach the old doctrines with the old fervor. There was a time when the pulpit controlled the pews. It is so no longer. The pews know what they want, and if the minister does not furnish it they discharge him and employ another. He is no longer an autocrat; he must bring to the market what his customers are willing to buy. QUESTION: What are you going to do to be saved? ANSWER: Well, I think I am safe anyway. I suppose I have a right to rely on what Matthew says, that of I will forgive others God will forgive me. I suppose if there is another world I shall be treated very much as I treat others. I never expect to find perfect bliss anywhere; maybe I should tire of it if I should. What I have endeavored to do has been to put out the fires of an ignorant and cruel hell; to do what I could to destroy that dogma; to destroy that doctrine that makes the cradle as terrible as the coffin. -- The Denver Republican, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1884. **** **** THE OATH QUESTION. QUESTION: I suppose that your attention has been called to the excitement in England over the oath question, and you have probably wondered that so much should have been made of so little? ANSWER: Yes; I have read a few articles upon the subject, including one by Cardinal Newman. It is wonderful that so many people imagine that there is something miraculous in the oath. They seem to regard it as a kind of verbal fetich -- a charm, an "open sesame" to be pronounced at the door of truth, a spell, a kind of moral thumbscrew, by means of which falsehood itself is compelled to turn informer. The oath has outlived its brother, "the wager of battle." Both were born of the idea that God would interfere for the right and for the truth. Trial by fire and by water had the same origin. It was once believed that the man in the wrong could not kill the man in the right; but, experience having shown that he usually did, the belief gradually fell into disrepute. So it was once thought that a perjurer could not swallow a piece of sacramental bread; but, the fear that made the swallowing difficult having passed away, the appeal to the corsned was abolished. It was found that a brazen or a desperate man could eat himself out of the greatest difficulty with perfect ease, satisfying the law and his own hunger at the same time. The oath is a relic of barbarous theology, of the belief that a personal God interferes in the affairs of men; that some God protects innocence and guards the right. The experience of the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 26 THE OATH QUESTION. world has sadly demonstrated the folly of that belief. The testimony of a witness ought to be believed, not because it is given under the solemnities of an oath, but because it is reasonable. If unreasonable it ought to be thrown aside. The question ought not to be, "Has this been sworn to?" but, "Is this true?" The moment evidence is tested by the standard of reason, the oath becomes a useless ceremony. Let the man who gives false evidence be punished as the lawmaking power may prescribe. He should be punished because he commits a crime against society, and he should be punished in this world. All honest men will tell the truth if they can; therefore, oaths will have no effect upon them. Dishonest men will not tell the truth unless the truth happens to suit their purpose: therefore oaths will have no effect upon them. We punish them, not for swearing to a lie, but for telling it; and we can make the punishment for telling the falsehood just as severe as we wish. If they are to be punished in another world, the probability is that the punishment there will be for having told the falsehood here. After all, a lie is made no worse by an oath, and the truth is made no better. QUESTION: You object then to the oath. Is your objection based on any religious grounds, or on any prejudice against the ceremony because of its religious origin; or what is your objection? ANSWER: I care nothing about the origin of the ceremony. The objection to the oath is this: It furnishes a falsehood with a letter of credit. It supplies the wolf with sheep's clothing and covers the hands of Jacob with hair. It blows out the light, and in the darkness Leah is taken for Rachel. It puts upon each witness a kind of theological gown. This gown hides the moral rags of the depraved wretch as well as the virtues of the honest man. The oath is a mask that falsehood puts on, and for a moment is mistaken for truth. It gives to dishonesty the advantage of solemnity. The tendency of the oath is to put all testimony on an equality. The obscure rascal and the man of sterling character both "swear," and jurors who attribute a miraculous quality to the oath, forget the real difference in the men, and give about the same weight to the evidence of each, because both were "sworn." A scoundrel is delighted with the opportunity of going through a ceremony that gives importance and dignity to his story, that clothes him for the moment with respectability, loans him the appearance of conscience, and gives the ring of true coin to the base metal. To him the oath is a shield. He is in partnership, for a moment, with God, and people who have no confidence in the witness credit the firm. QUESTION: Of course you know the religionists insist that people are more likely to tell the truth when "sworn," and that to take away the oath is to destroy the foundation of testimony? ANSWER: If the use of the oath is defended on the ground that religious people need a stimulus to tell the truth, then I am compelled to say that religious people have been so badly educated that they mistake the nature of the crime. They should be taught that to defeat justice by falsehood is the real offence. Besides, fear is not the natural foundation of virtue. Even with religious people fear cannot always last. Ananias Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 27 THE OATH QUESTION. and Sapphira have been dead so long, and since their time so many people have sworn falsely without affecting their health that the fear of sudden divine vengeance no longer pales the cheek of the perjurer. If the vengeance is not sudden, then, according to the church, the criminal will have plenty of time to repent; so that the oath no longer affects even the fearful. Would it not be better for the church to teach that telling the falsehood is the real crime, and that taking the oath neither adds to nor takes from its enormity? Would it not be better to teach that he who does wrong must suffer the consequences, whether God forgives him or not? He who tries to injure another may or may not succeed, but he cannot by any possibility fail to injure himself. Men should be taught that there is no difference between truth-telling and truth- swearing. Nothing is more vicious than the idea that any ceremony or form of words -- hand-lifting or book-kissing -- can add, even in the slightest degree, to the perpetual obligation every human being is under to speak the truth. The truth, plainly told, naturally commends itself to the intelligent. Every fact is a genuine link in the infinite chain, and will agree perfectly with every other fact. A fact asks to be inspected, asks to be understood. It needs no oath, no ceremony, no supernatural aid. It is independent of all the gods. A falsehood goes in partnership with theology, and depends on the partner for success. To show how little influence for good has been attributed to the oath, it is only necessary to say that for centuries, in the Christian world, no person was allowed to testify who had the slightest pecuniary interest in the result of a suit. The expectation of a farthing in this world was supposed to outweigh the fear of God's wrath in the next. All the pangs, pains, and penalties of perdition were considered as nothing when compared with the pounds, shillings and pence in this world. QUESTION: You know that in nearly all deliberative bodies -- in parliaments and congresses -- an oath or an affirmation is required to support what is called the Constitution; and that all officers are required to swear or affirm that they will discharge their duties; do these oaths and affirmations, in your judgment, do any good? ANSWER: Men have sought to make nations and institutions immortal by oaths, Subjects have sworn to obey kings, and kings have sworn to protect subjects, and yet the subjects have sometimes beheaded a king; and the king has often plundered the subjects. The oaths enabled them to deceive each other. Every absurdity in religion, and all tyrannical institutions, have been patched, buttressed, and reinforced by oaths; and yet the history of the world shows the utter futility of putting in the coffin of an oath the political and religious aspirations of the race. Revolutions and reformations care little for "So help me God." Oaths have riveted shackles and sanctified abuses. People swear to support a constitution, and they will keep the oath so long as the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 28 THE OATH QUESTION. constitution supports them. In 1776 the colonists cared nothing for the fact that they had sworn to support the British crown. All the oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States did not prevent the Civil war. We have at last learned that States may be kept together for a little time, by force; permanently only by mutual interests. We have found that the Delilah of superstition cannot bind with oaths the secular Samson. Why should a member of Parliament or of Congress swear to maintain the Constitution? If he is a dishonest man, the oath will have no effect; if he is an honest patriot, it will have no effect. In both cases it is equally useless. If a member fails to support the Constitution the probability is that his constituents will treat him as he does the Constitution. In this country, after all the members of Congress have sworn or affirmed to defend the Constitution, each political party charges the other with a deliberate endeavor to destroy that "sacred instrument." Possibly the political oath was invented to prevent the free and natural development of a nation. Kings and nobles and priests wished to retain the property they had filched and clutched, and for that purpose they compelled the real owners to swear that they would support and defend the law under color of which the theft and robbery had been accomplished. So, in the church, creeds have been protected by oaths. Priests and laymen solemnly swore that they would, under no circumstances, resort to reason; that they would overcome facts by faith, and strike down demonstrations with the "sword of the spirit." Professors of the theological seminary at Andover, Massachusetts, swear to defend certain dogmas and to attack others. They swear sacredly to keep and guard the ignorance they have. With them, philosophy leads to perjury, and reason is the road to crime. While theological professors are not likely to make an intellectual discovery, still it is unwise, by taking an oath, to render that certain which was only improbable. If all witnesses sworn to tell the truth, did so, if all members of Parliament and of Congress, in taking the oath, became intelligent, patriotic, and honest, I should be in favor of retaining the ceremony; but we find that men who have taken the same oath advocate opposite ideas, and entertain different opinions, as to the meaning of constitutions and laws. The oath adds nothing to their intelligence; does not even tend to increase their patriotism, and certainly does not make the dishonest honest. QUESTION: Are not persons allowed to testify in the United States whether they believe in future rewards and punishments or not? ANSWER: In this country, in most of the States, witnesses are allowed to testify whether they believe in perdition and paradise or not. In some States they are allowed to testify even if they deny the existence of God. We have found that religious belief does not compel people to tell the truth, and that an utter denial of every Christian creed does not even tend to make them dishonest. You see, a religious belief does not affect the senses. Justice should not shut any door that leads to truth. No one will pretend Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 29 THE OATH QUESTION. that, because you do not believe in hell, your sight is impaired, or your hearing dulled, or your memory rendered less retentive. A witness in a court is called upon to tell what he has seen, what he has heard, what he remembers, not what he believes about gods and devils and hells and heavens. A witness substantiates not a faith, but a fact. In order to ascertain whether a witness will tell the truth, you might with equal propriety examine him as to his ideas about music, painting or architecture, as theology. A man may have no ear for music, and yet remember what he hears. He may care nothing about painting, and yet be able to tell what he sees. So he may deny every creed, and yet be able to tell the facts as he remembers them. Thomas Jefferson was wise enough so to frame the Constitution of Virginia that no person could be deprived of any civil right on account of his religious or irreligious belief. Through the influence of men like Paine, Franklin and Jefferson, it was provided in the Federal Constitution that officers elected under its authority could swear or affirm. This was the natural result of the separation of church and state. QUESTION: I see that your Presidents and Governors issue their proclamations calling on the people to assemble in their churches and offer thanks to God. How does this happen in a Government where church and state are not united? ANSWER: Jefferson, when President, refused to issue what is known as the "Thanksgiving Proclamation," on the ground that the Federal Government had no right to interfere in religious matters; that the people owed no religious duties to the Government; that the Government derived its powers, not from priests or gods, but from the people, and was responsible alone to the source of its power. The truth is, the framers of our Constitution intended that the Government should be secular in the broadest and best sense; and yet there are thousands and thousands of religious people in this country who are greatly scandalized because there is no recognition of God in the Federal Constitution; and for several years a great many ministers have been endeavoring to have the Constitution amended so as to recognize the existence of God and the divinity of Christ. A man by the name of Pollock was once superintendent of the mint at Philadelphia. He was almost insane about having God in the Constitution. Failing in that, he got the inscription on our money, "In God we Trust." As our silver dollar is now, in fact, worth only eighty-five cents, it is claimed that the inscription means that we trust in God for the other fifteen cents. There is a constant effort on the part of many Christians to have their religion in some way recognized by law. Proclamations are now issued calling upon the people to give thanks, and directing attention to the fact that, while God has scourged or neglected other nations, he has been remarkably attentive to the wants and wishes of the United States. Governors of States issue these documents written in a tone of pious insincerity. The year may or may not have been prosperous, yet the degree of thankfulness called for is always precisely the same. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 30 THE OATH QUESTION. A few years ago the Governor of Iowa issued an exceedingly rhetorical proclamation, in which the people were requested to thank God for the unparalleled blessings he had showered upon them. A private citizen, fearing that the Lord might be misled by official correspondence, issued his proclamation, in which he recounted with great particularity the hardships of the preceding year. He insisted that the weather had been of the poorest quality; that the crops had generally failed; that the spring came late, and the frost early; that the people were in debt; that the farms were mortgaged; that the merchants were bankrupt; and that everything was in the worst possible condition. He concluded by sincerely hoping that the Lord would pay no attention to the proclamation of the Governor, but would, if he had any doubt on the subject, come down and examine the State for himself. These proclamations have always appeared to me absurdly egotistical. Why should God treat us any better than he does the rest of his children? Why should he send pestilence and famine to China, and health and plenty to us? Why give us corn, and Egypt cholera? All these proclamations grow out of egotism and selfishness, of ignorance and superstition. and are based upon the idea that God is a capricious monster; that he loves flattery; that he can be coaxed and cajoled. The conclusion of the whole matter with me is this: For truth in courts we must depend upon the trained intelligence of judges, the right of cross-examination. the honesty and common sense of jurors, and upon an enlightened public opinion. As for members of Congress, we will trust to the wisdom and patriotism, not only of the members, but of their constituents. In religion we will give to all the luxury of absolute liberty. The alchemist did not succeed in finding any stone the touch of which transmuted baser things to gold; and priests have not invented yet an oath with power to force from falsehood's desperate lips the pearl of truth. -- Secular Review, London, England, 1884. **** **** WENDELL PHILLIPS, FITZ JOHN PORTER AND BISMARCK. QUESTION: Are you seeking to quit public lecturing on religious questions? ANSWER: As long as I live I expect now and then to say my say against the religious bigotry and cruelty of the world. As long as the smallest coal is red in hell I am going to keep on. I never had the slightest idea of retiring. I expect the church to do the retiring. QUESTION: What do you think of Wendell Phillips as an orator? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 31 WENDELL PHILLIPS, FITZ JOHN PORTER AND BISMARCK. ANSWER: He was a very great orator -- one of the greatest that the world has produced. He rendered immense service to the cause of freedom. He was in the old days the thunderbolt that pierced the shield of the Constitution. One of the bravest soldiers that ever fought for human rights was Wendell Phillips. QUESTION: What do you think of the action of Congress on Fitz John Porter? ANSWER: I think Congress did right. I think they should have taken this action long before. There was a question of his guilt, and he should have been given the benefit of a doubt. They say he could have defeated Longstreet. There are some people, you know, who would have it that an army could he whipped by a good general with six mules and a blunderbuss. But we do not regard those people. They know no more about it than a lady who talked to me about Porter's case. She argued the question of Porter's guilt for half an hour. I showed her where she was all wrong. When she found she was beaten she took refuge with "Oh, well, anyhow he had no genius. "Well, if every man is to be shot who has no genius, I want to go into the coffin business. QUESTION: What, in your judgment, is necessary to be done to insure Republican success this fall? ANSWER: It is only necessary for the Republican party to stand by its principles. We must be in favor of protecting American labor not only, but of protecting American capital, and we must be in favor of civil rights, and must advocate the doctrine that the Federal Government must protect all citizens. I am in favor of a tariff, not simply to raise a revenue -- that I regard as incidental. The Democrats regard protection as incidental. The two principles should be, protection to American industry and protection to American citizens. So that, after all, there is but one issue -- protection. As a matter of fact, that is all a government is for -- to protect. The Republican party is stronger to-day than it was four years ago. The Republican party stands for the progressive ideas of the American people. It has been said that the administration will control the Southern delegates. I do not believe it. This administration has not been friendly to the Southern Republicans, and my opinion is there will be as much division in the Southern as in the Northern States. I believe Blaine will be a candidate, and I do not believe the Prohibitionists will put a ticket in the field, because they have no hope of success. QUESTION: What do you think generally of the revival of the bloody shirt? Do you think the investigations of the Republicans of the Danville and Copiah massacres will benefit them? ANSWER: Well, I am in favor of the revival of that question just as often as a citizen of the Republic is murdered on account of his politics, If the South is sick of that question, let it stop persecuting men because they are Republicans. I do not believe, however, in simply investigating the question and then stopping after the guilty ones are found. I believe in indicting them, trying them, and convicting them. If the Government can do nothing Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 32 WENDELL PHILLIPS, FITZ JOHN PORTER AND BISMARCK. except investigate, we might as well stop, and admit that we have no government. Thousands of people think that it is almost vulgar to take the part of the poor colored people in the South. Whose part should you take if not that of the weak? The strong do not need you. And I can tell the Southern people now, that as long as they persecute for opinion's sake they will never touch the reins of political power in this country. QUESTION: How do you regard the action of Bismarck in returning the Lasker resolutions. Was it the result of his hatred of the Jews? ANSWER: Bismarck opposed a bill to do away with the disabilities of the Jews on the ground that Prussia is a Christian nation, founded for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. I presume that it was his hatred of the Jews that caused him to return the resolutions. Bismarck should have lived several centuries ago. He belongs to the Dark Ages. He is a believer in the sword and the bayonet -- in brute force. He was loved by Germany simply because he humiliated France. Germany gave her liberty for revenge. It is only necessary to compare Bismarck with Gambetta to see what a failure he really is. Germany was victorious and took from France the earnings of centuries; and yet Germany is to-day the least prosperous nation in Europe. France was prostrate, trampled into the earth, robbed, and yet, guided by Gambetta, is to-day the most prosperous nation in Europe. This shows the difference between brute force and brain. -- The Times, Chicago, Illinois, February 21, 1884. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 33
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Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.
The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --
The Free Market-Place of Ideas.
The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.
Bank of Wisdom
Louisville, KY 40201